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A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Who needs solar? Traders burnt during the eclipse: No sun, but lots of cheap electricity

Remember the Electrical Eclipse-Fear? For months, people were coached to use less electricity during the eclipse for fear that the grid might fall over as marvelous new-revolution-solar stopped working. The media were selling the message that we might not cope without solar. I figured this would be as big a threat as a cloudy day (but easier to prepare for.).

So after all the spin, what happened? Electricity was massively oversupplied, and spot prices went negative.

Apparently people went outside to watch the sky. (At least that’s Southwest Power’s excuse.)

Most of the groups that hyped the fear don’t seem to have mentioned the failure so much:

 Why Energy Traders Got the Eclipse So Wrong — Bloomberg

Grid operators and traders thought they were totally prepped for the historic U.S. solar eclipse. There was just this one thing they didn’t completely factor in: “irregular human-behavior patterns.”

That’s the technical definition, from the folks who manage the electricity network at the Southwest Power Pool, for the conduct of millions of Americans who were outdoors ogling the moon shadowing the sun instead of cranking up the A/C in homes and offices.

This was a bummer for traders who’d bet prices would jump as a whole load of solar-produced megawatts faded to black.

Spot power in California fell to negative levels as the eclipse wiped out and restarted thousands of megawatts of solar power, and they also dipped from Texas to New York.

Then at 11:50 a.m. local time — as the sun started to reappear from behind the moon — the ramp-up in solar power sent prices to a low of minus $15.97.

…the next total eclipse in the U.S.: April 8, 2024.

The normal unpredictable variation of solar and wind power is far harder to deal with than the predictable dips from a solar eclipse.

PS: Find out when the next eclipse is in your neck of the woods.

h/t Andrew

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Who needs solar? Traders burnt during the eclipse: No sun, but lots of cheap electricity, 9.6 out of 10 based on 61 ratings

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75 comments to Who needs solar? Traders burnt during the eclipse: No sun, but lots of cheap electricity

  • #
    James

    Sane people would understand that the same thing happens when the sun goes behind a cloud!

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  • #
    Rereke Whakaaro

    What this tells me, is that the so-called spot market traders in electricity, aren’t really spot market traders, in the same way that precious metal traders are.

    The difference, is the degree of risk involved, and the personal downstream consequences of getting it wrong. If a precious metals trader, or a trader in other tangible goods, gets it wrong, then they personally take the hit. If an electricity trader gets it wrong, all of the electricity users take the hit. That is a big difference.

    This is another example of people trying to use and re-purpose what they already have in one domain, into an entirely different domain, neither of which they really understand.

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    • #
      Rod Stuart

      In Australia and New Zealand energy traders hedge extensively.
      So far as I know, the energy bought and sold by the retailers as future contracts vastly outweighs that actually traded on the spot market.
      I don’t know where to find the current mix. Perhaps someone does and can dispute my claim.
      Therefore I have the audacity to disagree with your comment. The price paid the retailer by the consumer is, for the most part, fixed for periods of several months. The exception, of course, is in connection with interruptible industrial customers, who can simply refuse to buy if the sporadic price changes become exorbitant.
      To the extent that traders deal in the spot market, they certainly can get burned when the spot price changes unexpectedly.
      But then, of course, traders in the PGM market hedge extensively as well. Intuitively I expect in a similar ratio.

      30

    • #
      Rod Stuart

      I went looking for some indication of the relation of spot to futures market in Oz and found this, which doesn’t answer the question but does provide some insight into the complexity of energy trading.

      10

      • #
        ROM

        Just another example of the parasites that hang off of the now unstable energy generation and energy supply market.

        The old days where a few big generators supplied the power as required.
        They knew and could and did program for the well known within minutes, the peaks, the troughs and amounts the daily, weekly and monthly fluctations in power demands and programmed their generaor outputs co-operatively with one another to cover adaquately those peaks and troughs in power demand.
        Some Hydro backup if things went a bit awry for an hour or so and we had a regular, stable, affordable, incredibly reliable energy supply system for nigh on half a century.

        They even programmed for Ad breaks in popular TV programs as everybody got up to boil a kettle and there was a sharp spike in power demand for a few minutes until the TV watchers settled down again for another viewing session during the evening.
        .

        Now you have traders, brokers, faclitators, green energy sales persons, renewable energy lobbyists, Coal generation lobbyists, Gas fired power generator lobbyists, pension fund lobbyists, economic energy advisers, energy advisers, Green scamming door to door sales persons, the list just goes on and on.

        ALL OF THEM collecting their often lucrative pay out of the rates charged to the poor consumer for using energy whichn once upon a time came down the wires from some big coal fired power station and from whom you got your bill from and who you paid that same energy generator every month.

        in short, the politicians in their ignorance and arrogance haveand into the whole of the energy financial and economics system.

        Technically there is not a single iota of benefit to be seen anywhere with the insertion of all these completely parasitical economic and financial scammers into the actual power generation, power generation technology and power useage side of the power production and comnsuming industry.

        And of course the prices for power used by the consumer have to rise to pay for all those completely unneccessary financial power industry parasites and scammers.

        90

        • #

          ROM mentions all this and yet, it would surprise you just how regular power consumption is, and how little it has changed across the years, even with the advent of renewables. (wind and solar power, even rooftop solar power)

          The shape of those Load Curves for actual power usage has not changed perceptibly for decades, and the only change has been in the amplitudes, and as the Peak has risen, then so has the Base Load also risen, both incrementally, so the the percentages have remained virtually the same. (total Base Load compared to Peak, which is virtually stable at around 60 to 65%)

          Those Load Curves are the same, and that’s worth repeating, they are the same, for a town, a city, a State Capital City, a region, a State, and for a Country as a whole

          I remember as a trainee electrical tradesman back in the 60s being shown Load Curves, and having it explained to us the difference between Summer and Winter, and the Base Load, so all of that is nothing new at all.

          Those Load Curves have not changed, and grid controllers can know with almost certainty the consumption levels so that they can have power generation ready and on line to cope as consumption rises each day at the same time.

          Then it’s just a case of juggling power plants so that the power is there to cover the Demand.

          Compare a Load Curve for actual consumption, and then compare the power generation graphs for wind especially, and they do not correlate ….. EVER.

          Power HAS to be in place at those set times to cover Demand, and that can only be done with plants actually capable of supplying it in that manner.

          As I showed in the recent Base Load analysis, the grid controllers knew that Units at Vales Point, Bayswater and Liddell were off line, so come the evening Peak on Friday, the grid controller got onto the blower to the Uranquinty gas fired plant and told them he needed all four Units to be online by 5.30PM, and that they would require that power, all of it, 640MW, for only three hours, and when the evening Peak passed, they shut back down, all four Units.

          You CANNOT do that with wind or solar.

          Tony.

          121

          • #
            PeterPetrum

            Tony, as usual, you know exactly what you are talking about. But can I ask a favour of you and all others on this site. Can we please stop talking about “renewables”, as renewable they are not, and talk about “intermittent unreliables”, as intermittent and unreliable they are. The warmists use language vey powerfully. Thus “Climate Change”, as there is no “Global Warming”, and “Renewables” for something that will wear out in 10-15 years and need to be replaced, not renewed. If we can turn the use of language around to be correctly descriptive, we can change public opinion back, or at least leverage it somewhat.

            90

    • #
      Roy Hogue

      My broker would probably tell you they tried to time the market, albeit a different and unusual circumstance and they got bitten as such attempts many times end up doing.

      My sympathy for them is measured in negative numbers. They had ample opportunity to know better but did it anyway.

      20

  • #
    KinkyKeith

    Many contributors to this site have outlined the past history of electricity production and distribution in Australia.

    Tony and TdeF are but two of those many who painted the picture of how simple it was for a single government authority to arrange that production and distribution before exacting payment from the users.

    Not hard, even government could do it.

    The current system has now got so many layers of politically motivated bloodsucking and cash redistribution attached that it is rapidly destroying our manufacturing and daily lives.

    The loss of the aluminium smelters is just the larger more obvious problem, most small businesses are struggling under the burden of the GES.

    Yes, the Great Electricity Scam is now with us invoking ugly memories of the other great ripoffs such as the 1987 and 2008 share market “crashes” that also took our savings under the guise of being something inevitable and not controllable by government.

    “Spot Prices” mentioned in connection with electricity is a strong marker of government malice towards the long suffering voters.

    A sane system does not need the intricacy of these price rigging mechanisms.

    We passed a coal train this afternoon on it’s way to port.

    There seemed to be hundreds of wagons.

    Obviously, one day, there will be less coal available and real alternatives will have to be found.

    Fortunately we have the nuclear option.

    We need sensible government. Couldn’t they arrange for a research project to work on developing alternative sources power cheaply.

    Possibly even the so called renewables might one day be cost effective, but until that day arrives we should force our governments to stop taking us back_asswards into the future, stop doing things like the politically inspired craziness of roof top solar and plants to take the salt out of seawater and just GOVERN as if it was their own money there were spending.

    Our society is in big trouble at the moment and going nowhere.

    We no longer need wars to damage society, the politicians and media are doings as excellent job.

    KK

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    • #
      toorightmate

      New oxymoron – “sensible government”.

      80

    • #
      ROM

      KK ,over at WUWT , Russ Istvan a very switched on individual who makes an appearance here on Jo’s blog [ "ristvan" ] every now and then, summed the whole Renewable Energy / energy fiasco, trending catastrophic in a few lines.

      Years ago, Power production and power distribution systems were completely reliable, stable, affordable and were designed to serve the enewrgy needs of the nation, its people and its industry and society.

      And we paid for that power system willingly as it was done for our individual and our society’s benefit and we as a community and nation recognised that fact.

      Today the power production and distrubution systems are designed not to serve the needs of society and the people and industry but to serve the extortionist demands of the Renewable Energy Scammers and numerous other non productive financial leeches all greedily sucking the financial blood out of the power consumers whilst greedily hanging off of the power production energy system to their own extremely luctrative and exclusive benefit.

      For this we, the Public and industry and commerce and nation are now faced with a full blown and increasingly unaffordable government legislated power cost extortion racket for which we are forced to pay extortionist rates to,the scammers if we want any power at all.

      And for this again, all we now face and get is a no longer trustworthy reliable and predictable power supply service but one that is less and less stable and more and more likely to go Black with a consequent major breakdown in all the interlocking and essential factors that go to making up a fully functioning modern power reliant society.

      141

      • #
        KinkyKeith

        Yes I remember the name but wasn’t it Rudd?

        It is encouraging that both the U.S.and the UK have recently voted to express their disgust at the bloodsuckers manipulating their lives.

        They may not have achieved much outwardly but a message has been sent, the people are unhappy with what’s being done on their behalf and want better government.

        The Canadiens seem to have voted to remain as serfs, thanks Beth, and the French election was indeterminate, at least for me.

        When I was a kid a power outage meant lighting a candle.

        Now it means getting trapped in a lift and that’s scary.

        KK

        41

        • #
          ROM

          KK, Yep!, you are right again ; “Rudd Istvan”. So my bad and in line with all my other spelling mistakes.

          Oh for ten minute post publishing grace period for further editing to correct all my mistakes and misspellings which get through despite my attempts at a disciplined multi proof reading pre-posting.
          .
          And as we are on energy again, I posted a link from the WGWPF site onto Jo’s “Victorian energy” post a few days ago at #57.

          The wheel has really begun to turn once again as the EU is apparently beginning to go through a whole re-think on energy, how it is generated and what has been the consequences of the EU’s policies on energy and energy production including renewable energy and energy costs and energy availability to the public and to industry.

          And it seems that the EU has beginning to realise they are taking Europe down a chaotic and very unreliable and unaffordable for most, energy rabbit warren which Europe might get trapped in and might never fully recover from for a couple of generations if their present energy policies and their manner and direction of their energy policy and its implementation continues down the same path as previously.

          From the GWPF;

          IS THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION WAKING UP TO ELECTRICITY CONSUMER PAIN?

          Industry regulators, who have understood these problems from the start, have not been slow to seize the opportunity.
          In a joint statement published in response to the Commission’s paper the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) and Council of European Energy Regulators (CEER), made three recommendations that spell out what the Commission must ultimately do to deliver on their commitment to the consumer. I quote them in full:

          Remove priority dispatch for existing RES [i.e. Renewable Energy Sources]

          European Energy Regulators recommend changes to Article 11 of the Electricity Regulation to apply the prohibition of priority dispatch to existing (as well as new) RES plants, so that all technologies complete fairly in the market to deliver the lowest possible cost to consumers.

          Avoid non-market approach to redispatch and RES curtailment

          European Energy Regulators recommend changes to Article 12 of the Electricity Regulation, particularly removing the 90% compensation for RES curtailment, to make the redispatch and curtailment approach less prescriptive.
          European Energy Regulators support redispatching markets – where feasible and efficient – being the mechanism for Transmission System Operators (TSOs) to perform market-based (rather than technology- based) curtailments.

          Avoid net metering and ensure fair cost allocation

          European Energy Regulators recommend changes to Article 15 of the Electricity Directive and to Article 21 of the RES Directive to emphasise that self-generators pay their fair share of network and system costs and that, for similar reasons, net metering is avoided.

          This is the writing on the wall.
          Priority access will have to be denied to all renewable generators, not just new entrants.
          Renewable generators will have to take a large part of the risk of curtailment, and cannot expect non-market compensation.
          In summary, renewables will have to pay “their fair share of network and system costs”.
          The special terms on which renewables have hitherto operated are coming to an end, slowly but surely.
          The cost of managing their uncontrolled output is about to become their problem, not something that can be silently shuffled on to electricity bills.

          More >>>

          It makes me laugh if it wasn’t so hard on the South Australian and now Victorian and soon to be if Shorten an co get elected, on the rest of eastern Australian electricity consumers, that just as our political FW’s are going to start to implement all those glorious planet saving policies to force our citizens to use less power by pricing it out of their reach. And rewarding all their comrade scammer financiers in the Renewable Energy industry, the Europeans have had a guts full of exactly those same policies, realised they are dead ends nationally and increasingly politically as well as being national industry and commerce and living standards destroyers, are getting very close to bailing out of the whole damn lot of those same society destroying energy policies.

          50

          • #
            KinkyKeith

            It’s often the autocorrect ROM.

            The news you have there is encouraging but in the words of that great philosopher; I’ll believe it when I see it.

            The other good news is that both Victoria and South Australia seem determined to confront reality ASAP and if the voters there haven’t got the wit to elect people who intend Restoring Power then they are doomed.

            How did we get into this mess?

            KK

            40

          • #

            ROM,

            I saw this earlier comment of yours, and I was going to mention it (at an upcoming Unthreaded Post here perhaps) with a reference back to it, because a new Thread had been put up here, and I thought that not a lot of people would go back and see that earlier comment of yours.

            I have noticed, particularly since that time when South Australia went ‘black’, and the Regulator (AEMO) got the blame, rather than where it actually did lay, the reliance on renewables and the the catastrophic collapse when just a couple go down, bringing the rest of them with them. It was an easy thing to blame the AEMO because, being a Government entity, it was easy to make a political point, and hey, the average person in the street has no idea about what really did happen anyway.

            However, since then, what I have noticed is that the AEMO is relying less heavily (and in fact not at all really) on renewables, mainly wind power.

            I’ve noticed that coal fired power especially has actually ramped up somewhat in the three States that generate it (NSW, Qld, and Vic) and is delivering more power rather than less, and that is the case whether wind power is high or low, and coal fired power is just delivering the same amount even if wind power is high.

            The only thing I have noticed is that when wind is low, hydro ramps up (somewhat) to cover it, and when large Units at coal fired plants go off line for maintenance, then gas fired plants are being brought on line.

            It seems that the AEMO has, umm, got the hint, and decided that they want no more flak coming their way, so, when it comes to power generation, they are ‘eyeballing‘ only the reliable power sources.

            It’s odd really, because a week or so back, wind power had a relatively huge period of around 4 days or so, up around 3000 to 3500MW Plus, and yet coal fired power did not move at all, just humming along, delivering what it always did.

            It’s funny (well, to me anyway) how actual data always over-rules the rhetoric.

            Tony.

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            • #
              Robber

              Tony, I have the impression that AEMO may have ramped up SA gas generation in recent months in preference to importing power from Vic. When there was no wind in SA, the Vic interconnector was often at close to max capacity, but I haven’t seen that for some time, so I suspect AEMOO are forcing more SA gas into the market as insurance against another SA blackout.

              60

            • #
              ROM

              Interesting Tony!

              So the AEMO might have decided to play a few energy industry politics itself to keep its own skin clean if it all turns to s—t again.
              .

              That old proverb; “Whoever has the Gold, makes the Rules
              .

              And the AEMO has the “Gold”, the power through its charter to play the energy sources and availability politics, “to make the rules”, if it deems to do so within the confines of its charter which like all such bureaucratic charters can be bent and modified to fit the circumstances “as” and “if” and “when” required.

              40

    • #
      bobl

      Keith,
      Too true, the sucking of ‘dividends’ out of the energy system is the same play used to feed every man and his dog out of taxes attached to rates. none of them are optional in any true sense of the word. By attaching them to a government bill, private interests are able to get the benefit of government enforcement with the power of a gun for thing people might not voluntarily pay. Dog registration, garbage collection (if you have the space for your own incinerator and landfill). At least St. Johns Ambulance is something worth the money. Big China Renewable Energy Co – Isn’t.

      However, there are a bunch of bloodsuckers who are about to get their comeuppance as substitution begins to kick in – as it inevitably will. I am already water independent and will be Energy independent within a few years.

      60

    • #
      ARW

      To have a sensible government you need to have sensible (informed) voters. Right there is the sad predicament Australia finds it self in.

      30

    • #
      Roy Hogue

      We no longer need wars to damage society, the politicians and media are doings as [an] excellent job.

      And it scares the stuffing out of me to think about it. And I know of no way I can fix it or protect myself from it except my vote and my words. And they do nothing compared with the juggernaut now rolling over us.

      40

  • #
    tom0mason

    From your link “PS: Find out when the next eclipse is in your neck of the woods.

    Eclipses happening in 2021.
    Eclipse happening during both hemispheres’ summers

    10 Jun
    Solar Eclipse (Annular)Much of Europe, Much of Asia, North/West Africa, Much of North America, Atlantic, Arctic

    4 Dec
    Solar Eclipse (Total)South in Australia, South in Africa, South in South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Antarctica

    What an interesting year that should be.

    90

    • #
      Ian Hill

      Don’t get excited about annular eclipses, where the moon does not quite cover the sun because it is further away in its orbit around Earth. While the light is eerily different, it doesn’t get dark.

      41

      • #
        tom0mason

        Ian Hill,

        Yes agreed.
        I just thought it is quite unusual there is an eclipse affecting the Arctic summer followed by an eclipse in the Antarctic summer, all in the same year.
        How often does that happen?

        40

      • #
        Ian Hill

        My quick answer is that these two eclipses are part of the same geometric system involving the positions of the sun, Moon and Earth and taking into account the different planes of Earth’s orbit around the sun and the Moon’s around Earth. By definition any “serious” eclipses in the polar regions occur in “summer” months only and there are often pairs of total-annular eclipses when the geometry is right, roughly every two years, but occurring in different parts of the world. This is what would be happening in 2021.

        I’d have to check but I have the impression total/annular eclipses occur in the polar regions about once a decade, but to have them in the same calendar year would be much rarer.

        30

        • #
          Ian Hill

          I should point out that eclipses only occur when the three bodies in question are lined up(in syzygy) at or near the point where the two planes intersect. If the planes were the same there would be eclipses every month at new moon.

          30

      • #
        DavidH

        Near total eclipses are still worth experiencing. I don’t think I’ve been in an annular eclipse but I did see a near total eclipse. Yes, eerie light, in a couple of ways. Near maximum eclipse, sunlight is coming from much more a point source, so shadows become sharp. It was quite a warm day, but as the eclipse progressed, there was a very noticeable reduction in warmth even though to our eyes it still seemed full day. The sky remained blue but quite washed out. Eclipses of all kinds are worth making an effort to see.

        40

    • #
      Roy Hogue

      PS: Find out when the next eclipse is in your neck of the woods.

      Tom,

      What we need to know is when the current eclipse of sound judgment and common sense will end, not when the next solar eclipse will be.

      If you can tell us that that you’ll be the man of the century if not the millennium.

      40

  • #
    Ruairi

    The U.S. grid traders were wrong,
    Not to think that so many would throng,
    Outdoors, making trips,
    For the solar eclipse,
    Which is rare and does not last too long.

    170

  • #
    Leonard Lane

    Just another example of the intermittent nature and unreliability of solar power.

    70

  • #

    ‘There was just this one thing they didn’t completely factor in: “irregular human-behavior patterns.”’

    That’s okay. They just have to adjust those irregularities (agile mini-cities here we come!) and The Market will be truly free. The Market will be able to dance around like some sky-high hippie chick at a Nimbin festival, or walk along the ranks and shout FREEEEEDUUUUUHM, just like Mel Gibson.

    What? You thought “free market” meant freedom for people? If Our Green Betters had meant free people they would have said free people. It’s The Market that free, silly. The Market decides like one great soviet. The people are just Enron-fodder.

    60

  • #
    James Murphy

    I was in Houston, and spent a little while watching the partial eclipse with loads of other like-minded nerds in the office. There were clouds in the sky, but not a lot. It was darker when the sun was behind these light fluffy clouds than at any point during the ~60% eclipse.

    Conversely, driving to the airport on Friday morning, it was as dark as you’d expect it to be when in close proximity to Hurricane Harvey.

    Only idiots would believe the hype regarding significant dips in solar energy production, and only financial markets know how to take full advantage of said idiots. Arguably, that is the “natural order” of things?

    131

    • #
      el gordo

      The natural order of things is that people are easily fooled and a minority take material advantage.

      ‘An estimated $300 billion was spent (almost half in the United States) to upgrade computers and application programs to be Y2K-compliant. As the first day of January 2000 dawned and it became apparent that computerized systems were intact, reports of relief filled the news media. These were followed by accusations that the likely incidence of failure had been greatly exaggerated from the beginning.’

      Brittanica

      132

      • #
        toorightmate

        Aaaahhhhhh – “Y2K”; the warm up game for “Global Warming”.
        Although, there was a stronger chance that the millennium change ould stuff up computers than there is of CO2 contributing to climate change.

        101

      • #
        bobl

        I remember getting a bargain Fax machine for $10 because after Y2K it would print 1900 on the bottom of the page instead of 2000! I bought 2 – one as a spare.

        60

        • #
          tom0mason

          I bought my first NEW PC in 1999. I was so cheap.

          I’ve never been able to afford to buy new since. I’ve leaned since then that manufacturers refurbs are often a better option anyway (all the early bugs are sorted)

          10

      • #
        Ian Hill

        The opportunities were everywhere. My children were given scary but fluffy millennium bug toys for Christmas ’99.

        20

  • #
    Mark M

    Data obtained during the eclipse showed temperatures dropped – in some place by as much as 11 degrees – during the period when the moon blocked out the sun.

    http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2017/08/solar_eclipse_2017_how_much_di.html

    90

    • #
      toorightmate

      That is amazing.
      It is normally only at night time when the yemperature drops that much!!!!

      60

      • #
        ROM

        As America is the one nation that has dramatically lowered its CO2 emmissions through the use of Gas for power generation, that drop in temperatures with the solar exclipse just goes to show what happens when you lower those CO2 emmissions too much.

        [ ??? !! :-( ]

        31

    • #
      Planning Engineer

      Mark M – good point. I think the temperature drop had more to do with decreased load, rather than behavior. (Most AC is on thermostats.) At 99% totality I personally felt what was recorded as an approximate 10 degree drop in the southeastern U.S. This showed up in our system load curves as well.

      00

  • #

    Here’s a funny thing. While these contortions and manipulations go on in the solar and wind power anti-industries, American coal is set to be shipped to coal-rich Ukraine. No, not a bit but 700,000 tons of thermal coal from Pennsylvania-based Xcoal Energy.

    Why coals to a Newcastle of Eastern Europe? Because the Newcastle bit lies in the Russian-influenced and war-torn Donbass region. The US sees Eastern Europe as being in thrall to Russian oil and gas with insufficent alternatives. So naughty coal is heading to Ukraine and so far not a peep from the MSM who would faint if a lump of coal was even glimpsed in San Francisco or Portland. That’s the situation you get when you stage one of those cheesy “colour” revolutions in order to exchange pro-Russian kleptocrats with pro-Western kleptocrats. Russia, which has never been nice and was only truly weak for a while, pushed back like the bear it’s always been. So now the US pushes back with ships full of coal, probably at too good a price and with too many sweeteners to refuse. The folks back in Pennsylvania won’t complain, that’s for sure. But you can’t help wondering whether the coal might be better burnt at home rather than railed to Baltimore then shipped to the Black Sea.

    It’s like how we don’t see the imported diesel and brown coal which powers South Australia’s green miracle. Just keep the camera on the whirly-things and ask no questions. Never mind the carbon, feel the politics. For someone’s remote politics, American forests are burnt in England. For someone’s remote politics, American coal is burnt next to Russia.

    Meanwhile, we talk eclipses and energy prices during and after eclipses. Because eclipses are (temporarily) bigger news than a Miley Cyrus twerk.

    Hot wars, cold wars and trade wars go on, and they’re popular with the Posh Left who dominate opinion provided the right villains are concocted. Hydrocarbons are an essential weapon in all that. Expect lots of fracked US gas to make its way to Eastern Europe, especially now that the US has decided that the best fulcrum for its power in Europe is Poland rather than the Atlantic side.

    Now, you might ask, how could it be a bad thing if Australia were to mine and use its own high quality coal in new and efficient plants? The problem is that we’re not Ukraine. The creepy agenda for us is entirely different to the creepy agenda for them. Ukraine gets the black, we get the green.

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  • #
    Annie

    You mean ‘our hard-working Sun’ was badly underpaid when he went back to work after his rest? Disgraceful.

    Sarc/ if that’s really necessary.

    70

  • #
    KinkyKeith

    Loved that new term; “the anti_industries”.

    Kleptokrat is also very descriptive and leaves me wondering what the equivalent might be for the US, U.K. and Australia?

    Bureaucrat isn’t tough enough. Is there something more realistic.

    KK

    51

  • #
    Mark M

    Science Unsettled.

    When I entered this field,” Reich tells me, “it was still believed that Neanderthals and humans did not interbreed,” he says.

    This is not “ancient history,” which goes back a few thousand years to the dawn of writing.

    This is deeper in the past than “deep history,” which takes us even further back—before the invention of agriculture, before the invention of language, before the invention
    of the wheel.

    This is deep, deep history, tens of thousands of years ago.

    When, it’s now emerging, hordes of humans, vast tribes of variations of hominids—Homo sapiens, Neanderthals, the newly discovered “Denisovans,” the mysterious “ghost populations”—ranged and thronged and clashed and bred and interbred (and probably exterminated large portions of each other) across vast landscapes that were battlefields and graveyards.

    The evidence for much of these vast clashes and close encounters is something we carry around within us in microscopic stretches of DNA that are the only legacy left from extinct variant species of humans.

    In microscopic sequences of chemical bonds on the double helixes of heredity there are traces of ancient variations on human species who lived and thrived and left nothing else behind beyond a few random sequences of chemical bonds.

    https://www.laphamsquarterly.org/roundtable/deeper-deep

    Related: What have the Denisovans ever done for us?
    ‘Warm’ genes and ulcer resistance

    https://inews.co.uk/essentials/news/science/denisovans-ever-done-us/

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    When it comes to any form of solar power, it is subject to what is called ….. Insolation, and read that carefully, as it’s the letter ‘O’ and not the letter ‘U’.

    That is the amount of light having an effect on solar power generation, be it solar PV or CSP. (Solar Thermal, or more correctly Concentrating Solar Power)

    There is a scientific principle behind it, and it can be easily shown.

    So, what I would like to show you is what it actually is, in reference to an actual power generation situation. This is for the same solar array at the same location, the UQ solar array, and I have no need to even cherry pick good days and bad days to show you, so I have picked two days of generetion, and they are YESTERDAY (the good day) and the that chart for two days before that. (the bad day)

    This first link shows a good day. (yesterday) First, note at left the total power generating capability for this array, 5693KW, so it’s a pretty big one at 5.693MW. It starts generating at around 6.30AM and stops at around 5.30PM, so 11 hours on a typical Winters day, and a good day here is cloud free might I add. The shape of the curve is (similar to) a half sine wave. The total power generation is at around 11.30AM, and that’s 4142KW, and it’s up over 4000KW from around 10.30 till 1PM. That Maximum power generation even then is still only 72.75% of Nameplate, so, in Winter, even on best days, that’s as good as it gets, and it will NEVER reach 100% in fact even on a best case Summer’s day either. Note the vertical down spikes, and they are clouds flitting quickly across the face of the Sun, so power drops off.

    The average power for the 11 hours is around 1465MW, so extrapolated out to a full 24 hour day, then that is 671KW so an effective Capacity Factor of 11.8% for this Winter’s day, a best case scenario ….. at 11.8%??? (and the yearly average CF would be around 17 to 20%)

    Okay then, the bad day is two days before this, a cloudy day all day long. (at this link) Same start time, same finish. Nothing else is the same though, not even close.

    Now imagine you need that power all the time.

    Tony.

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      bobl

      Huh,

      a best case scenario ….. at 11.8%??? (and the yearly average CF would be around 17 to 20%)

      Bull
      UQ’s array is not steered so they get 12 % @ 73% production = 16% Summer and the mean of this is 14% CF assuming NO CLOUDY DAYS. UQ gatton is 2 minutes from my place, and I can attest that the cloudy days come in summer and the RH is not often under 40%! My Feed In Tariff benefit is best in autumn and spring. Given that, how do you reckon they are going to get 20% CF?

      Not to mention, you are only going to get to 100% nameplate at high noon in the tropics when the sun has 0 deg angle and it’s completely clear with under 40% RH, AND the temperature is only 25 degrees IE that’s spells N.E.V.E.R. On the tropic of Capricorn (where you live Tony) at noon on clear day at the Summer Solstice it ain’t 25 degrees, it’s 38 – 45 depending on the humidity (How far inland you are)!

      UQ comes close but at latitude 27.52 is more than 4deg outside the tropics. The Sun is never directly overhead. Its worse in lala land, SA where Adelaide is 11.5 degrees outside the tropic of Capricorn.

      Not to mention that the earth is a oblate spheroid and not a flat plain, so the angle of incidence is even shallower that it would appear just by latitude. Some times I wish Climate Scientists would come out of their 2D flat world into the 3d world with the rest of us, even Homer Simpson managed that once!

      You’ve gotta stop sugar coating that Solar Energy Tony

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        Joe

        I think a lot of people get caught up in the hype of the ‘nameplate’ rating of the solar panels and want to compare this to traditional mechanical generation. It is really a pointless exercise to observe that their output is quite low at 5.30 am. The capacity factor is not so much determined by some short coming in their operation but by the simple and obvious fact that the sun does not always shine in the one place. Is pointing out the relatively low CF some sort of cry for orbital mechanics of our planet to change? Every living thing on this planet has got by with a low CF of our big solar heater for millenniums. The ‘nameplate’ rating of a solar panel is somewhat arbitrary being based on some maximum daily average solar insolation of 1kW/m^2. Sure, it gets misused by politicians, salespeople, the media and scammers to give unrealistic comparisons with traditional nameplate measures, but it is probably a reasonable way to rate them. You could have a different scheme where the 20% or whatever figure you want really, was used to rate them at some 24hr average insolation and while that might improve or simplify the presentation of the expected energy output over a day and allow comparison with traditional generators, it would probably introduce other problems. Rural people, just like their crops and animals, seem to better understand that the sun does not shine 24 hrs a day and they seem to have better acceptance of solar power and don’t bother with academic arguments about their poor CFs. Any person wanting to do their own domestic power (and yes I am not talking about not relying on traditional energy to make your steel and cars or run your supermarket fridges or in some remote latitude) be they in a city or in a remote but sunny, rural area, are most likely to use some solar panels and some form of storage than say build a small traditional fuel plant. Those on the land have done this for generations (no pun intended), long before solar became the new chai latte. And that is not an observation supporting massive solar plants force fed into the traditional distributed power system aka ‘the grid’, it is just a statement of horses for courses. I think that the technology itself (which has a whole lot of really good science behind it and which is so vital to us in many unseen ways) is getting an unfair rap because of how it is being touted and used now. Personally I would be lost without it.

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          Rod Stuart

          All very true, but unfortunately misses the point.

          The consumer requires electricity which is reliably available at any time he wishes to consume it.

          Electricity produced from wind and solar, and to some degree for hydro, simply is not of the same value as that generated from fossil fuels.

          This is why it is nonsense to try to compare in terms of MWH “servicing a number of homes”.

          Sooner or later the consumer will realise this, in the same way that the good folks of Bunderberg have realised that Internet speed and reliability is value not provided by the NBN.

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            Joe

            I think that one of the problems is people conflating the power rating with the energy delivered. The power companies are not really in the business of selling power, they sell energy. And while it is a simple comparison between one coal station and another it is fair to talk about either the power or the energy but it is very misleading to talk about x MW of solar panels providing the equivalent to x MW of coal generation and that is what so often happens in the media and the pollie sound bites. It also happens with people making capital cost comparisons of a coal fired versus any other sort of generation, they will often just talk about the capital dollars per watt and that means very little in the scheme of things. There should always be some attempt to provide some sort of levelised cost for the production of Wh of energy as that is what customers pay for. I still think that it is reasonable to rate panels based on the maximum power they can deliver and is consistent with how power ratings are used in general. It is not meant to be a measure of the energy it will deliver – that is left up to the system designer.

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    Dennis

    Has anybody noticed the television advertisements promoting green (so called) energy, and even now offering it for no extra cost, yes they did try to charge for it previously.

    Deceptive advertising was illegal I thought.

    Maybe a lawyer should write and ask them how they deliver that green energy to households that apply.

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      Dennis

      If they can do it I wonder if my water supplier could send me beer to my taps?

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      Costs of stupid guvuhmint decisions re renewables. Comment @ WUWT,
      - ‘Without the energy provided by other sources these renewables
      could not not exist.’

      Dan Pangburn
      August 24, 2017 at 4:07 pm

      ‘The fallacy of wind turbines is revealed with simple arithmetic.

      5 mW wind turbine, avg output 1/3 nameplate, 20 yr life, electricity @
      wholesale 3 cents per kwh produces $8.8E6. Installed cost @ $1.7E6/mW
      = $8.5E6. Add the cost of standby CCGT for low wind periods. Add the cost
      of land lease, maintenance, administration and the cost of standby fossil
      power for when the wind does not blow.

      Solar voltaic and solar thermal are even worse.

      The dollar relation is a proxy for energy relation. Bottom line, the energy
      consumed to design, manufacture, install, maintain and administer renewables
      appears to exceed the energy they produce in their lifetime.

      Without the energy provided by other sources these renewables could not exist.’

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      • #
        bobl

        Beth,
        Here’s some more factoids related to this.

        For each MW of wind, 5 Ha has to be cleared, which loses around 750 Tonnes of CO2 absorption (sinking) PER ANNUM.

        The Energy consumption of the renewable Industry alone (without it’s suppliers) is around 30% of total renewable production. (Net energy output is 30% lower than measured output). When you add energy usage of suppliers, government renewables departments, related wonks in every other department, carbon accounting people and other government mandated green waste in every other business, greenpeace, WWF oxfam and other assorted green hangers on then that rises to around 100% of renewable energy being consumed by the renewable energy scam itself. Not 1 kg of CO2 is EVER SAVED, it only just powers the waste of the green dream itself. It’s just like having a person employed digging a hole while another is employed filling it in, yes, two people have jobs that we have to pay for but nothing will ever get done. So it is with the green dream. All this infrastructure is built to just about power the management of the infrastructure. The entire cost of the infrastructure becomes a nett loss since it would not be needed at all (IE you would get a better CO2 outcome) if you just shut down the renewable scam instead.

        You forgot rates, land tax and land maintenance (Mowing, fences roads etc)

        Almost every windfarm comes with a set of steak kives ( windfarm transmission line and associated cleared land corridor) to pay for, so at least double the loss of CO2 sinks and land related costs.

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    pat

    o/t

    26 Aug: Yahoo: from UK Telegraph: Victoria Ward: Grizzly bears go vegetarian due to climate change, choosing berries over salmon
    Grizzly bears have stopped eating salmon in favour of elderberries after being forced to make a choice due to climate change.
    Warming temperatures meant that the berries are ripening earlier than usual, at exactly the same time as the freshwater streams on Alaska’s Kodiak Island are overflowing with sockeye salmon.

    The island’s brown bears typically feed first on salmon in early summer, followed by elderberries later in the season, in late August and September.
    “What you have is a scrambling of the schedule,” said William Deacy, a biologist at Oregon State University that studied the phenomenon.
    “It’s essentially like if breakfast and lunch were served at same time and then there is nothing to eat until dinner.
    “You have to choose between breakfast and lunch because you can only eat so much at a time.”

    The study found that during the unusually warm summer of 2014, the bears, which would traditionally kill up to 75 percent of the salmon, were nowhere to be seen near the streams.
    Instead, they were in the hills busy munching on berries, which contain less protein and therefore take less energy to break down, causing them to gain weight more quickly.

    Biologists warned that changes caused by a warming planet were behind the bears’ unusual behavior and could affect the entire ecosystem…

    The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (LINK).
    https://uk.news.yahoo.com/grizzly-bears-vegetarian-due-climate-180305476.html

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    Dennis

    Last few days before spring … mid north coast NSW at midday

    New South Wales (Current location)  Location picker
    16 °F|°C Partly cloudy

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    pat

    22 Aug: EnergyPostEurope: The five key characteristics of the future energy company
    by Stephen Woodhouse and Simon Bradbury
    Energy markets are in the middle of a revolution, triggered by decarbonisation and innovation. History suggests that this is not a safe place to be, not even for the revolutionaries, but especially not for the ‘old guard’. Stephen Woodhouse and Simon Bradbury of Pöyry Management Consulting investigate the key characteristics necessary for a successful future energy company. (This article was adapted from a new book, Innovation and Disruption at the Grid’s Edge, edited by Fereidoon Sioshansi, in which two dozen top experts from across the world give their views on the transformation of the electricity sector.)
    (from bottom of article: Prior to joining Pöyry, Stephen was an Economic Modeler for Ofgem…Before joining Pöyry, Simon worked for the UK energy regulator, Ofgem.)
    http://energypost.eu/the-five-key-characteristics-of-the-future-energy-company/

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    pat

    25 Aug: CarbonBrief: Guest Post: Why solar keeps being underestimated
    by Dr. Felix Creutzig
    (Dr Felix Creutzig is chair of sustainability economics of human settlements at the Technical University Berlin and is head of a working group on land use, infrastructure and transport at the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change, Berlin.
    from CV:
    2012/13 Visiting Fellow at the “Princeton Institute for International and Regionals Studies”. —
    2011-2014 Lead Author of the IPCC AR5 and the Global Energy Assessment on Transport, Cities and Bioenergy. —
    2009-2014 Teaching Climate change, land use and infrastructures at TU Berlin. —
    2008-2009 Postdoc at the Berkeley Institute of the Environment with Daniel Kammen. —
    2008 Visiting Fellow at the Energy Foundation China in Beijing ETC)

    But it’s plausible that even these more optimistic outlooks have greatly underestimated the potential of solar power. In an analysis, just published in Nature Energy (LINK), my colleagues and I ask why this has happened and how much solar could contribute to climate mitigation…

    Our results were remarkable. By 2050, solar supplies 30% of electricity in competitive markets (without subsidy) worldwide, under pessimistic assumptions on floor costs and up to 50% under more optimistic assumptions.
    In other words, our electricity systems will be transformed from relying on consistent “baseload” coal to variable solar. This offers a somewhat bright outlook for climate change mitigation, but would also change the landscape of, and demands on, global electricity markets.
    Realising this solar potential will depend on crucial policy planks and support…

    Pricing out polluting coal through carbon taxation would complement policy designed to boost solar’s share of the global electricity mix…
    https://www.carbonbrief.org/guest-post-why-solar-keeps-being-underestimated

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    pat

    25 Aug: Scotsman: Gary McGovern: Support needed to help wind farms flourish
    (Gary McGovern, partner and environmental law and planning specialist at legal firm Pinsent Masons)
    During 2017 the Scottish Government has been developing its new Energy Strategy to deliver a fully decarbonised energy system by 2050…

    With the typical lifespan of a wind farm ranging from 20 to 25 years, the earliest schemes of the 1990s will soon reach their natural end-of-life and operators need to decide if those wind farms can be “repowered” or will be decommissioned. These decisions must be taken many years in advance, meaning potentially thousands of megawatts of wind power capacity could be decommissioned over the period 2025 to 2035 unless a programme of repowering takes place…

    However, there is a conundrum facing local planning authorities in the impending replacement-versus-removal argument, which dates back to initial planning applications.
    Then, in part to address concerns as to landscape and visual impact, planning was (unlike most other development) typically granted on a time-limited basis with an assumption of “reversibility”. It became assumed that, when projects reached end-of-life, they would be taken down.
    Against this backdrop, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has been charged with developing guidance for repowering applications.

    Current indications are that SNH advice is likely to be that any application to repower a wind farm should be treated as if the permission was being granted for a virgin site (a higher test than one might expect). The fact that wind farm infrastructure has been in situ would be largely ignored or just one among many factors.

    But assessing applications against a theoretical, future greenfield baseline is likely to lead to an unduly negative view being taken of the consequences of extending the life of a wind farm…READ ON
    http://www.scotsman.com/news/gary-mcgovern-support-needed-to-help-wind-farms-flourish-1-4541868

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    KinkyKeith

    The last paragraph says it all: pricing out polluting coal.

    This is the same take on science as used by CSIROH.

    Don’t make renewables less costly/ more efficient, just subsidize them.

    KK

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    pat

    26 Aug: Bloomberg: Harvey Set to Overpower Wind in State Generating the Most
    by Brian Eckhouse, Chris Martin & Ryan Collins With assistance by Naureen S Malik, and Bob Brennan
    From 2.1 to 3.6 gigawatts of wind power facing shutoff threat
    If hurricane hovers, power could be affected for a week
    One of the worst things that can happen to a wind farm is too much wind…

    Turbines generally aren’t designed for hurricane risk, said Alex Morgan, a New York-based analyst at BNEF.
    “They’ll pitch down and yaw into the wind, which allows them to safely pinwheel,” said John Martinez, director of operation at Pattern Energy Group Inc., which owns the 283-megawatt Gulf Wind farm in Kenedy County. “This way the blades don’t flex, which can be damaging. The turbines are designed to automatically do that.”…

    If hundreds of thousands of people lose power as is expected, it doesn’t matter whether the wind farms are running or not, because they’d have nowhere to send the electricity generated. It’s the very reason why power and gas are trading down…READ ON
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-25/harvey-set-to-overpower-wind-in-state-that-generates-the-most

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    pat

    27 Aug: Bloomberg: Harvey’s Second Act Could Drive Up Economic Damage for Texas
    by Brian K. Sullivan & Jen Skerritt
    Days of rising water in store for heart of U.S. energy sector
    Downgrade to tropical-storm status doesn’t lessen rain threat
    Harvey smashed ashore as a Category 4 hurricane Friday near Rockport, Texas. One death has been attributed to the storm, which has also halted about one quarter of oil production in the Gulf of Mexico and 5 percent of U.S. refining capacity…

    At least 252,247 customers were without power across the state, according to a Bloomberg survey of electric utility outage maps. The drop in electricity demand could depress natural gas prices…
    ***(With assistance by Christine Buurma, Amy Stillman, Sheela Tobben, Naureen S Malik, Barbara J Powell, Mary Schlangenstein, Sonali Basak, Ryan Collins, Laura Blewitt, Jim Polson, Alex Tribou, Alex Longley, David Wethe, Jessica Summers, Jen Skerritt, Catherine Traywick, Sophie Caronello, Tim Loh, Dan Murtaugh, Abigail Morris, and Mark Chediak)
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-26/harvey-hammers-u-s-oil-hub-with-torrential-rain-as-winds-weaken

    ***that’s a lot of “assistance” for such a short piece!

    check the comments on Harvey:

    26 Aug: RealClimateScience: Tony Heller: August 27, 1893 Hurricane Killed More Than 1,000 People
    https://realclimatescience.com/2017/08/august-27-1893-hurricane-killed-more-than-1000-people/

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    pat

    comment in moderation re 27 Aug: Bloomberg: Harvey’s Second Act Could Drive Up Economic Damage for Texas

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    pat

    can’t find any articles discussing what’s happening with wind energy in Texas, due to Harvey. however, there are some maps in here, tho I couldn’t open the CPS Energy page:

    26 Aug: SanAntonioExpress: Harvey stalling over South Texas; officials warn San Antonians to stay alert
    By Brendan Gibbons, Paul J. Stephen, and Richard Webner
    Harvey, the previous Category 4 hurricane that was downgraded to a high-end tropical storm Saturday afternoon, was expected to slowly deteriorate now that it’s inland, NWS meteorologist Jason Runyen said…
    “This storm may last for days and days and days,” Runyen said.
    In his career, he said, he has never seen a storm that was accompanied by such a prolonged risk of flooding…

    CPS Energy outage map
    The current outage map from CPS Energy. The page is available on CPSEnergy.com(LINK)…

    Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative Outage map
    http://www.expressnews.com/news/local/article/Harvey-stalling-over-South-Texas-officials-warn-11984984.php

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    richard verney

    For heaven sake, totality only lasts about 160 seconds. The total time of the eclipse is about 8 minutes, most of which there is as much solar as there is under cloudy skies, going through to stormy skies.

    At anyone moment the shadow of a full eclipse is only a small areas, on a national level this is insignificant, and even on a state level, it is only a paltry affair.

    The main thing about an eclipse is that it is predictable, so it ought not cause any substantial problem to the grid unlike fluctuations in wind.

    It was entirely predictable that the first total eclipse in the US for such a long period of time would result in many people stopping work, and stop going about their normal lives for a few minutes to witness the event. It was entirely foreseeable that energy demand would be somewhat less during the eclipse.

    The problem is that these people neither understand nature, nor energy supply and demand.

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    Roy Hogue

    Actually, though the sun became about 1/3 obscured at the height of the eclipse we had no noticeable darkening here. I attribute that to the very large range of brightness that the human eye can adapt to. As for solar panels, I confess that though I have the site bookmarked where the performance of the “solar carports” at each of the park district’s parks is on display 24/7, I forgot to load it up and watch what actually happened to their output. So I missed an opportunity to report some real data.

    Chalk it up to being more interested in the writing project I have going. Some scientist type I am, allowing myself to be distracted by a mere hobby interest. :-(

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